PLANS to build 98 homes in Skipton have been refused - but not as those opposed to the scheme had hoped, on grounds including highways safety.

Acting against officer advice, Craven District Council’s Planning Committee unanimously rejected the Persimmon Homes scheme for the sloping, farmland site off Aldersley Avenue.

Reasons for refusing were however reduced to just one - because of the impact of the two storey proposed homes on existing bungalows in Moorview Way- after an attempt by two Skipton members to include other issues, were rejected for fear they would not hold up on appeal.

At Monday’s meeting, Skipton ward councillor Chris Harbron moved refusal, seconded by Cllr Robert Heseltine, and said development of the site should wait until the Craven Local Plan is formally adopted.

Although the site is allocated for about 100 new homes in the emerging plan, it looked ahead to the 2030s, he said, and development should be spaced out, he said.

Approving the application would mean a saturation of new homes in Skipton that were neither needed or wanted, he said.

He also urged refusal on grounds of safety for both drivers and pedestrians using Aldersley Avenue and the ‘pinch point’ railway bridge on Shortbank Road.

Fellow Skipton councillor, Chris Rose, said as both a cyclist and a driver, she was very aware of the issues with Shortbank Road, and highlighted a ‘blind spot’ which made it potentially more dangerous for users of the road. But, asked for his opinion on whether the application was safe in terms of highways, Ken Martin, from North Yorkshire County Council, said it was, and added the ‘blind spot’ could actually contribute to road safety by slowing drivers down, who given a straight road might be tempted to drive faster. He further agreed with the agent from Persimmon Homes that parking on both sides of Aldersley Avenue could also be seen as a traffic calming measure.

Asked by committee chairman, Cllr Alan Sutcliffe if the highways authority would support Craven Council if Persimmon appealed against refusal, he responded it would not, as it had no objection to the scheme.

Committee vice chairman, Cllr Ian Thompson, said he was not willing to support rejection on grounds that did not have officer support, but he did have concerns about the building of two storey homes, so close to bungalows at Moorview Way.

Earlier, the committee had heard from spokesman for objectors, Christopher Mcgrath, who had said there would be ‘severe overlooking and overshadowing’ of Moorview Way.

Cllr Wendy Hull said following a visit to the site, ahead of the meeting, she too was concerned about the all the new properties in the development and that further consideration be given to all elevations, and not those just close to Moorview Way.